Champlain sorting out how to welcome new students without meeting in person

By Gordon Lambie

According to Nancy Beattie, Campus Director at Champlain College in Lennoxville, trying to plan for the fall semester this year is turning out to be an enormous puzzle. After a winter semester that was pushed out of the classroom and onto the internet at just about the halfway point, the work of trying to figure out how to meet government-mandated learning objectives is proving to be very complex.
“It’s already a huge transition from high school to college, but given that there was this massive disruption of all educational institutions in the middle of March and then this optional return (for high school students), we’re recognizing that the academic gap has the potential to be a lot more significant and the challenges to that transition may be more significant as well,” Beattie said, sharing that at this point it is hard to say what form classes in the fall will even take. “We know that there’s a good chance that we may be allowed on (to campus) and then be sent off partway through he fall semester as well.”
Even in a situation where school is allowed to start up in person in August, the campus director pointed out that the college simply doesn’t have the space or resources available to convert its existing teaching model to a complete, in person, physical distancing approach.
“We don’t physically have enough space, nor do we have enough teachers to be able to subdivide and deliver all that content, nor do we have the resources to hire more teachers even if we had the classroom space,” Beattie said. “It’s a very big puzzle, but we’re working to find a constructive solution.”
Not knowing exactly what the future holds, the campus director told The Record that the college is working on a plan that would allow almost all activity to take place outside the walls of the physical building, including its summer orientation.
“We want to engage our new students, make them feel welcome and connected, and let them know what’s available to them in terms of resources,” she said, noting that there are automatically new challenges when trying to move what would normally be face-to face interactions into an online setting. “We’re trying to be realistic and make sure that no matter what happens we’re still able to provide our students with the with the support and the resources and the encouragement they might need whether they’re going to end up being here physically part time or whether it’s going to be remote.”
Part of the effort on that front is being led by Sheila Quinn, who has stepped back onto the Student Services team in a role similar to but also very different from one that she occupied from 2013 to 2015.

For full story and others, subscribe now.

Share this article